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A-Ron’s New Movie Reviews: Lady And The Tramp (2019)

Disney overhauls yet another animated classic, “Lady and The Tramp” into their next live action film. The house of mouse tries to show up Netflix by making “Lady and The Tramp”, the first original film of the Disney+ streaming platform. The film is a great companion to the original 1955 animated film. The production is slick and boasts a higher production quality that rivals even the best Netflix has had to offer. Led by a solid voice ensemble, with Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux offering a sweet romance. One of Disney’s best live action adaptations and one of this year’s best films. 

Disney’s rehauling of their animated catalogue into live-action remakes have become a top priority for the studio, just as much as anything under the Marvel or Star Wars brand, they had purchased for billions. Dusting off their handcrafted classics for a new audience has seen the most live action remixes this year alone, with “Aladdin”, “The Lion King”, “Dumbo” and the “Maleficent” sequel all released theatrically. 

Now here we are with the brand new launch of Disney+, the new streaming service from the house of mouse who joins the streaming service battle. Disney+ is $6.99 a month and contains nearly everything released by Disney (movies and tv series). Also included is Marvel (movies and tv series), Star Wars (movies and tv series), programming from National Geographic and original content (movies and tv series) from Disney+

Disney’s next animated to live action adaptation is based on the 1955 classic “Lady and The Tramp”. While it may not have the fan base of “Aladdin”, “Cinderella” or “The Lion King”, but it’s still a Disney classic and one of the best romance stories in movie history. “Lady and The Tramp” has one of the most recognizable scenes, that’s just as iconic as anything in some of Hollywood’s greatest romances. Not to worry that iconic scene is re-created here gloriously for the film. 

The 1955 animated film clocks in at a quick 76 minutes, which was a normal for the old Disney animated classics. Director Charlie Bean (“The Lego Ninjago Movie”) has expanded the remake by half an hour, as the production boasts a slick and higher production value quality that rivals even the best Netflix has had to offer.

“Lady and The Tramp” probably wouldn’t have been the box office powerhouse that “The Lion King” Or “Aladdin” was. Disney’s CGI big screen version of “The Lion King”, has a bit more in common with “The Lady and The Tramp”, as both attempt to portray animals as realistically as possible, beyond giving them the ability to speak. However, there are key differences that actually aid “Lady and The Tramp” to be a far better film in comparison.

There are a few changes from the animated film, with the most obvious change being the removal of the musical number “We Are Siamese”, performed by two siamese cats. While the cats are still there, this time they sing a new number called “What A Shame”. 

One of the big contributions to “Lady and The Tramp” becoming live action is in the use of using actual dogs and while there are of course, digital effects being used to make them talk, these are real dogs (they even showed up to the movie’s premiere). I did enjoy the human characters getting a larger focus within the story, as the animated version of the characters Jim Dear and Darling are mostly seen from a dog’s point of view, and were rarely shown above the knee. There is no such thing here. The character of the dogcatcher’s part is expanded and is the closest thing the film has to a villain.

Voicing Lady is “Creed” and “Thor: Ragnarok” star Tessa Thompson, while Tramp is voiced by Justin Theroux (“Charlie’s Angels”). Both actors voice work is so good they can match any human couple in a quality rom-com, and is ultimately what the movie is. A wonderful supporting cast gives likable voice work with: Sam Elliott, Ashley Jensen, Janelle Monáe and Benedict Wong all play the lovable animals surrounding Lady and Tramp, and even Ken Jeong shows up for a few lines of dialogue.

“Lady and The Tramp” has always been about the romance, but while the characters might be dogs, all the standard elements of your romantic comedy formula are present. The meet cute, the initial disinterest by one party, the event that throws them together, the blooming relationship seemingly ended by a misunderstanding… It’s a rom-com!

“Lady and The Tramp” has always been about class divides and Bean’s version, like the original also doesn’t shy away from that. “Lady and The Tramp” doesn’t take much risks, but it’s a great companion to the original film. It isn’t a film that’s been remade as a fantasy spectacle, it’s just a story about two dogs who fall in love in backyards and alleyways.

While it does feel like a streaming film, much like anything Netflix would do. It’s a stellar production and film. It’s a smoother expansion with the film’s laid-back pace. This is one of Disney’s best live action adaptations and one of 2019’s best films. 

GRADE: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

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About Aron Medeiros

Aron Medeiros
Aron Medeiros lives on the beautiful island of Maui. He is a member of The Hawaii Film Critics Society, movie critic for Maui Watch, a commentator and cast member of the NerdWatch pod cast. He is a 2003 graduate from King Kekaulike High School. His favorite film of all time is “Back To The Future”. He has worked at Consolidated Kaahumanu Theaters for nearly 13 years as a Sales Associate and making his way up to Assistant Manager. He has loved movies since he was a young boy, learning about movies from his Grandfather and being self taught.

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